Archives For International

cyber missionDemand for cybersecurity products and services extend well beyond our nation’s borders. For companies looking to capitalize on international interest in cyber defense, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) is here to help.

DBED and the U.S. Commercial Service in Baltimore will host a webinar at 10 a.m. on Dec. 4 with details on how Maryland cybersecurity companies can participate in the U.S. Commerce Department’s Cyber Security Business Development Mission to Eastern Europe. In May 2015, business executives and trade association representatives will travel to Poland and Romania to explore business development opportunities.

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Maryland is leading a delegation of eight medical companies at MEDICA 2014.  Photo courtesy MEDICA

Maryland is leading a delegation of eight medical companies at MEDICA 2014. Photo courtesy MEDICA

Maryland is known across the globe for its innovative medical industry. Nowhere is that more apparent than at MEDICA, the world’s largest medical trade show held every year in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) Secretary Dominick Murray is leading a delegation of eight Maryland medical companies during this week’s conference. This conference marks the State’s fifth year in attendance at MEDICA, which is expected to draw more than 130,000 attendees.

“MEDICA is truly a unique opportunity to reach the decision makers of many of the world’s largest medical device and diagnostic companies and encourage them to explore Maryland as the ideal place to establish operations,” said Secretary Murray. “With more than 4,500 exhibitors from 65 countries, the show will also help connect our participating companies with new avenues for investment and trade.”

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Technology CEO CouncilHungry for information technology, the international marketplace is increasingly looking to Maryland.

Demand is particularly strong in Asia and Latin America. The United States continues to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

And among these countries, Maryland’s role as an IT exporter has grown significantly, according to a recent report by the Technology CEO Council, a public policy advocacy organization.

“Despite the recession, Maryland’s IT exports to TPP countries have increased every year since 2006 and reached $987 million in 2012,” the report stated.

Maryland was the only state in the nation to see an increase in IT exports every year during that period, according to the report.

The Technology CEO Council also ranked Maryland among leading IT exporters elsewhere in Latin America.

According to the report, from 2006 to 2012, Maryland’s IT exports to Brazil grew 455 percent, the second highest growth by state in the nation.

This growth reflects Maryland’s 50-year trade relationship with Brazil. Governor Martin O’Malley visited the country in December 2013 to announce and celebrate new shared investments.

For more information on becoming a Maryland exporter, find resources here through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

An upcoming event on May 22, the 2014 Celebration of International Trade: Conference and Exposition, will also connect prospective and experienced Maryland exporters with trade experts. Find additional details here.

World Bank Photo

Sara Aviel, the United States representative on the Executive Board at the World Bank, recently met with members of Governor Martin O’Malley’s International Advisory Council.

In this increasingly globalized world, Maryland companies are extending their reach beyond traditional trading partners. Business opportunities in the developing world are greater than ever.

Governor Martin O’Malley’s International Advisory Council, founded in 2009, is keenly aware of the challenges facing Maryland companies looking to work with new trading partners. One resource for these businesses is the the World Bank.

To explain the World Bank’s mission, Sara Aviel, the United States representative on the Executive Board at the World Bank, recently met with members of the advisory council.

“In pursuit of its twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, the World Bank Group provides a range of benefits to the private sector by helping developing countries lay the foundations for economic growth, from improving business climates to building critical infrastructure like roads and ports to mitigating the effects of financial crises,” Aviel said.

“The Group also provides benefits to American companies through financing, political risk insurance, and procurement opportunities. I encourage interested Maryland businesses of all sizes to work closely with the World Trade Resource Center Institute and the Department of Business of Economic Development to explore ways to partner with the World Bank Group,” she added.

Bob Walker, Deputy Secretary within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, who hosted the advisory council meeting at DBED’s Baltimore offices, said, “There are many tools we try to make available to Maryland companies to help them grow their businesses. The World Bank, which offers analysis on international markets and provides loans to governments in the developing world, is a resource for businesses in our state.”

More than 160 Maryland companies have benefitted from and partnered with the World Bank in recent years, Walker said.

He added that Maryland companies routinely use data from the World Bank—ranging from the Global Economic Prospects report to Open Financial Data—to make important decisions about new investments.

Learn more about The World Bank’s business resources here.

El Salvador is Central America’s smallest country, but a new deal with the state of Maryland signals the potential for big economic growth.

Governor Martin O’Malley arrived in El Salvador yesterday, becoming the first Maryland governor to do so. There, he signed a memorandum of understanding between the state and El Salvador’s Comisión Ejecutiva Portuaria Autónoma (CEPA), which manages national transportation infrastructure. The deal forms a partnership between Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and El Salvador International Airport, involving information sharing on airport operations, security, maintenance and training. In time, officials hope the two airports will begin offering direct service between Maryland and El Salvador, the governor’s office announced.

Maryland’s relationship with El Salvador runs deep. Maryland has the fourth largest Salvadorian population in the country, with over 120,000 residents. The state boasts the highest earning Salvadoran population in the United States. In 2012, Maryland businesses participated in $60 million in trade with El Salvador.

The governor praised the influence of Salvadorians on Maryland’s economy.

“[The state] has benefited from the hard-working, entrepreneurial spirit of the Salvadoran people,” he said in a statement. “I’m honored to be here to further the partnership between El Salvador and Maryland. The agreement we signed today will strengthen those bonds by sharing the types of infrastructure, technical and modernization strategies we’ve seen work at BWI Marshall.”

Maryland Delegate Ana Sol Guiterrez, a native Salvadorian, emphasized the historic nature of the governor’s visit, saying in a statement, “The more than 100,000 Salvadorans that live in Maryland will be happy to welcome him to our small country that is a key partner to Maryland and the United States.”

During the MOU signing, the governor and Guiterrez were joined by U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte and CEPA President Alberto Arene.



November 14, 2013 (Baltimore, MD) – Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that EnerTech Capital Partners and Foundation Medical Partners (FMP) have been selected to receive funds through the State’s $84 million InvestMaryland program. The venture capital firms will invest $10 and $7 million each in young, innovative Maryland companies. As part of the agreement, the firms will return to the State’s general fund 100 percent of the principal and 80 percent of the proceeds from successful investments. Created by Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly in 2011, InvestMaryland is a historic initiative to fuel Maryland’s Innovation Economy, support entrepreneurs and stimulate job creation.

“Maryland is committed to investing in the entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses that will soon become the leaders of our growing Innovation Economy and we are excited to have EnerTech and FMP join us in that effort,” Governor O’Malley said. “InvestMaryland leverages the capital and expertise of the private sector to support young Maryland businesses as they grow and create family-sustaining jobs for the people of our State.”

“Venture capital and knowledgeable investors can mean the difference between success and failure for young companies, even those built around promising ideas and innovative technologies,” Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick E. Murray said. “InvestMaryland is just one more advantage Maryland has in the life sciences, social media, cybersecurity, big data, green energy and other high-tech fields. We look forward to working with EnerTech and FMP as they make their investments.”

“EnerTech has been investing in Maryland since shortly after our founding in 1996. We are delighted to be selected by the InvestMaryland team and welcome their participation in our final close of EnerTech Capital Partners IV,” said Tucker Twitmyer, Managing Director of EnerTech. “The State has an impressive track record in our sector and we look forward to helping Maryland’s workforce create the next generation of real energy solutions — for Maryland and for the world.”

EnerTech invests in early to growth-stage companies that offer products or services that make energy production and consumption more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. The firm has managed about $500 million since its founding in 1996. Its current fund, in which InvestMaryland is a participant, is approximately $120 million. EnerTech’s portfolio ranges from Tangent Energy Solutions, a company that makes industrial sites more energy efficient, to n-Dimension Solutions, a cybersecurity firm focused on critical infrastructure.

FMP invests in the healthcare technology sector, focusing on transformational technologies and services that enable value-based healthcare and leverage wireless, data and analytics technologies. Its portfolio includes a diverse set of companies specializing in healthcare informatics, medical device development and innovative diagnostic technologies. FMP is still in its fundraising phase and could not comment on its new fund.

InvestMaryland is the largest venture capital investment in history by the State. Last year, $84 million was raised for the program through an online auction of tax credits. Of that funding, two-thirds will be managed by private venture firms like EnerTech and FMP. So far, $48 million has been committed to seven firms. The remaining third is being invested by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund (MVF).

The MVF was seeded with $25 million and over its 17-year existence invested in hundreds of start-up and early stage technology and life sciences companies, generating a $67 million return, 2000 jobs and more than $1 billion in private investment. Returns from MVF investments are reinvested in the program.

A new Amazon facility is expected to bring a major economic boost to Baltimore and the surrounding area. By the end of 2015, the Internet retailer plans to build a 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in place of a former General Motors plant in Southeast Baltimore. The facility will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs.

“[Workers] can make up to 30 percent more than they might make in a retail job, together with comprehensive health benefits, a tuition-assistance program, 401(k), company stock options—these are good paying jobs that more than 1,000 people will be able to take advantage of,” said Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray.

Murray praised the inter-agency effort that led to Amazon’s business decision, which included coordination with the Maryland Port Administration, the Maryland Transit Administration, the Comptroller of Maryland, other agencies and the Baltimore Development Corporation.

The effort to build a relationship with Amazon and compete for the new fulfillment center was led by Jerry Sanford, director of business recruitment and location services within Maryland DBED, Murray said.

Over the course of about a year, Maryland competed against about a half-dozen other states for the facility, according to Sanford.

“It’s going to have a significant economic impact, beyond the direct jobs. You have to look at the transportation and infrastructure that’s necessary, FedEx and UPS shipping in and out of the facility [and] all of the services that need to be provided directly to Amazon,” he said.

Among the deciding factors for the new location were One Maryland tax credits, valued at up to $5.5 million, available for development projects in qualified economically disadvantaged areas. Total available tax credits could exceed $43 million, spread across multiple tax cycles. Amazon’s initial investment in the facility is expected to exceed $212 million.

Mark Vulcan, director of tax services within Maryland DBED, who assisted in coordinating tax credits for the planned development, called the project a “win-win.”

“We’ll have the jobs, we’ll have the facility. The people will spend money here, they’ll live here, the community will benefit, the state will benefit, it will benefit everybody in the state of Maryland. This is a win-win, and but for the incentives, it would not have occurred,” Vulcan said.

Career opportunities, as well as photos and video showing how a fulfillment center functions are available online.

Job opportunities for Maryland workers are also posted on the Maryland Workforce Exchange website.

Are you a company looking to do business with Amazon?  Register your business on Amazon’s supplier database.

Photo of Amazon Fulfillment

The new Baltimore facility will be patterned off others across the United States. Photo credit Amazon

Keep up with the latest statewide business and economic developments.

Robert Walker is Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Supporting Maryland manufacturing is a top priority here at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and a recent event organized by Walmart shed some light on revitalizing industry in our state and across the nation.

Walmart has a goal of creating $50 billion in new manufacturing in the United States over the next decade, much of it by encouraging its suppliers to bring outsourced manufacturing back home. This plan was detailed in a summit attended by more than 1,500 participants, including the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the Honorable Penny Pritzker, and eight governors, as well as the CEOs of General Electric, Walmart, Sam’s Club and other corporate leaders.

The Good News: U.S. exports in the first six months of this year were $1.2 trillion, the total of all U.S. exports in 2003. Increased exports means increased manufacturing jobs as well. The output of U.S. workers is up 9 percent on average since the 2008 recession due to improved productivity, continuing innovation, research and development and the important economic development activities of U.S. universities.  Manufacturing processes are being done with less labor, cheaper natural gas and at a lower cost of credit (thanks to the Federal Reserve).  And three jobs are created for every one manufacturing job.

One speaker said we hear a lot about China’s robust economic growth and how it will “sink” the U.S. economy. The same thing was said of Japan in the 1970s. Today, the U.S. has 2.5 times more manufacturing value-added than five years ago. Chinese labor costs continue to rise, although still well behind average U.S. wages. However, the cost of transporting products continues to rise. In addition, import duties and delays in backfilling orders makes U.S. manufacturing increasingly more competitive with the fully-loaded cost of Chinese imports. In the case of flooring material, the U.S. now has a $.03 advantage over China and the product can be delivered to buyers within a matter of one to three days.

Some of the governors said they have eliminated state taxes on utilities, cut corporate taxes by 20-plus percent, provided tax incentives, improved infrastructure and implemented programs to provide the workforce needed to meet the demands of tomorrow’s job market. In fact, all of the governors who spoke said that the quality and availability of the workforce were the most important factors for companies looking to expand or relocate to their states. One governor spoke of a high school program in his state that allows qualified students to also complete a two-year associate degree at the same time that includes a mandatory internship in the skill area chosen by the student. Another state provides a certificate of “readiness” that confirms for an employer what it is that the prospective employee can do as a result of education and on-the-job training, certified by a professional trained in that skill area.

The CEO of General Electric commented that the U.S. can compete with any country anywhere in the world, and that manufacturing is getting better. The speakers concluded that we are at a tipping point and we should challenge our old assumptions about the capability and capacity of U.S. manufacturing. U.S. manufacturing can and will rebound and grow in light of U.S. leadership in research and development, innovation, productivity improvements and changes in China and elsewhere that will work to our advantage.

The good news that Maryland added 1,800 manufacturing jobs in July, the most of any job sector in the state, underscores the vitality of, and opportunity for, manufacturing in Maryland.

Fueled by federal investment and an evolving technological landscape, Maryland is becoming a worldwide leader in cybersecurity.

To celebrate the state’s booming industry, promote growth and foster the next generation of cyber experts, CyberMaryland 2013 will be held Oct. 8-9 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The two-day conference is sponsored by CyberMaryland, Maryland’s cybersecurity initiative launched by Governor Martin O’Malley in January 2010, as well as other companies and industry organizations.

Find additional details and registration here on the here on the event website.

Industry veterans, employers, educators, students and prospective cybersecurity workers should take advantage of the conference’s opportunities.

Here are 10 reasons why:

  • University of Maryland Baltimore County President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, recently named by Time magazine one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, will discuss the role of higher education in preparing future generations of cyber warriors.
  • The Cybersecurity Showcase & Expo will feature the latest in cybersecurity technologies presented by some of Maryland’s most innovative and effective companies.
  • The policy-makers and decision-makers who are leading government cybersecurity will be available to present and consult with attendees.
  • Special sessions will cover topics like Privacy vs. Protection, Risk Management in the Era of Cyber Warfare, and more.
  • Live “cyber battles” will meld friendly competition and innovation among the region’s top high school, college and professional teams in the Maryland Cyber Challenge, held in conjunction with the conference.
  • In an era of cyber warfare, visitors can gain useful risk management training during a general session presentation with a Tenable officer.
  • A hiring event, in partnership with TECHEXPO, will feature recruiters from Invertix, Security University, Deloitte, GovEvents, Dynamics Research Corp, Lockheed Martin, Agilex Technologies, Inc. and others.
  • Speakers will represent thriving cyber companies including KoolSpan, Tenable, Light Point Security and RedOwl Analytics.
  • A two-hour workshop will provide information on financing a cybersecurity startup for success.
  • The National Cybersecurity Hall of Fame will induct its second class of honorees from industry, academia, and government at an awards banquet following the CyberMaryland conference.


Check back for Q&A profiles on all the competition finalists.

The first-ever InvestMaryland Challenge is down to its final round with just 33 companies competing for more than $300,000 in grants and business services. The final winners will be announced during the Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony on April 15.

One of the companies, selected out of more than 250 applicants, is Rockville-based CoFoundersLab, founded in 2011. To find out a little more about this up-and-coming company, we spoke with co-founder and CEO Shahab Kaviani.

Q. What does CoFoundersLab do, and how would you explain it to the average person?

A. CoFoundersLab is a matchmaking service for entrepreneurs to find their business partners, and we do it in two ways—we have an online matching site called, which is very much like but for business partners, and also through in-person events that we do in about 20 cities throughout the country, every quarter in each city. For example, here in the Baltimore metro area, we do it at the University of Baltimore, at the ETC, at Betamore, at the Rockville economic development center, and in downtown D.C. with Cooley, and in Arlington with Arlington Economic Development. We’re a business matching service to help you choose your business partner with a more objective criteria, according to who complements you the best, rather than just who you’re friends with and who you happen to know.

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“The port has successfully withstood a challenging economy and has outperformed many other major U.S. ports thanks to shrewd infrastructure investments, unique job-creating business partnerships, and long-term contracts with major international shipping companies.”

Governor Martin O’Malley on the Port of Baltimore’s cargo traffic